How My Life Changed Forever

UntitledOften times when someone has something important, someone close to them they are pushed to let go. We learn that it is our Isaac. This is a point that is drilled into your consciousness from the moment you take your walk in UBF. Many times we are told to look at the world and look at ourselves so we can find our Isaac. When we find it we must simply give it up and let go without looking back. Is it really a correct interpretation of the passage that contains one of Abraham’s greatest examples of faith?

A Reflection on Genesis 22

When my wife and I were about to face separation, our lives shook. Our marriage shook. But no one asked, “How is your marriage? Are you okay? How can you handle this event?” We had been married less than one year and were expecting a baby. As I participated in UBF ministry activities during the four months that we were separated I told myself it was okay because of Genesis 22 or similar thought control. However, deep in my heart I was torn up because it was not a comparable test of faith. I want to explain best a brief look at Abraham’s test of faith, my family’s personal struggle and the impact of ministry.

As Genesis 22 opens it had already been some time after Isaac had been weaned and Ishmael had been sent away with his mother. Verses 1-2 read, “Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.’”

Typical UBF messages emphasize that Isaac was most precious to Abraham. By interpretation this means that Isaac, God’s promise and blessing to Abraham, was an obstruction (idol) to serve and follow God. (So, the natural action is to remove the idol.) But God was indeed testing Abraham and did not intend to take Isaac, but rather wanted Abraham to demonstrate his love for God. So, Abraham almost sacrificed his son – But he didn’t! Before he could bring the knife down an angel of the Lord stopped him. When Isaac was spared and a ram was to become the offering it revealed God as our provider. But we need to remember that Abraham returned having proven his faith and love for God, while his son Isaac was still under his care. This reveals that Abraham had a lasting encounter with God – a turning point in his faith. Abraham’s obedience helped him to experience God even more. God would not let anything happen to Isaac for the value of life and the promise. So, after leaving Abraham had both his faith in God and his son.

Understanding Our Separation

In my own example I had to let go of my wife – my wife had to let go of me. My wife and I married by faith, but also because we did love each other. Even though we did not know each other at all in any way, God gave us opportunities of our era – internet: fb, skype and email. During our private time no leader or chapter director could prohibit our frequent communication that helped us to later become a solid married couple after marriage. I was not desperate to marry, but was willing to do so in UBF after a lot of personal prayer. This did not happen because of my chapter director and his carrot and stick, but because I believed, trusted and loved God.

Let me explain our crisis: My wife is Korean. During a mad rush to do everything well, effectively and in a timely manner at the time of our marriage I accidently submitted the wrong application for immigration sponsorship into Canada. I will say just one thing, even though this has hurt my family in the short term, I believe that it was God’s grace and will that led us out of an abusive chapter in such a way. When we discovered our situation most of the chapter members were out of the country, leaving just my family and one other member. When I discovered our reality I arranged to meet with an immigration lawyer immediately to see exactly what our options were according to Canadian laws. Did I consult with the chapter director at that time? No, his absence did not help us at all and we also needed to be clear about the facts before we prayed.

Interference From Our Chapter Director

Our main priority was to get my wife out of the country before it could hurt her chances to be accepted as a sponsored immigrant to Canada. We messaged the director and his wife after we could explain the facts about our situation and what options were available. First, the director said we could discuss further once he returned to Canada. (There was no time for discussion, but he wanted to be in control.) Second, both he and his wife encouraged a foolish plan to go into USA and then try to reenter Canada – the theory was to extend possible visiting visa. Our problem was not my wife’s allowance time for being in Canada it was the application forms we had submitted. The Canadian government believed I was in Canada and that my wife was in Korea, but actually we were both in Canada. The government was processing everything for my wife at the embassy in Seoul. Within ten days of discovering our situation and taking the necessary steps to understand our options my wife was back in Korea.

Once everyone had returned to Canada and talked openly about the situation my family became divided property of the chapter. The director did not show concern about what this crisis was doing to my family. All he cared about was his power and authority over the members in his church. My wife became a political object so he could find favour among Korean co-workers in her chapter. He prepared gifts and a card which we were not to have anything to do with accept for delivery. He enforced a prayer meeting for the sending off of my wife the Sunday before she left without our consent or input. His prayer was not about our family – it was about his chapter and how he could maintain power over us. This was one event he could not control. He was not more powerful than immigration Canada. The following Monday my parents and I accompanied my wife to the airport early in the morning. I refused any coworkers to be in attendance.

All during this time my wife had just entered her second trimester for pregnancy. So, in addition to the stress of sponsoring a spouse into Canada, we faced four months separation during her pregnancy. The days leading up to her departure my wife cried and cried. I had gone through a breakdown several years before, so it was naturally difficult for me to do the same in times of intense sorrow and disappointment.

Life in Canada Separated From My Wife

During the four month period there were two aspects that bore heavy on me. First, inside our chapter my prayer topics were given to me. I was told that my wife had to return as soon as possible to Canada for the sake of our chapter. What!?! Nobody had any sense!! A pregnant woman well advanced should not be travelling long distances by air. My wife also had no status in Canada and would be subject to the worst environment along with the baby to be born into. Over and over again, during meetings, daily bread, bible study, Sunday worship and any event which caused us to gather I listened to the prayer that demanded my wife return to Canada. Her return was not about uniting our family, but about maintaining numbers and events in our small chapter. The second aspect that bore heavy on me was during any event which gathered several chapters together. I attended one wedding, the summer conference and also a leaders conference before the school year began. On all occasions I met with people from across Canada and explained our situation without stating the facts about chapter politics. Everyone outside of my chapter said the same thing: Go and teach English in Korea! Be united with your wife, because it is not healthy for you two to be separated like this. When I returned home I wanted to cry, but couldn’t. I asked myself (and God), “Why couldn’t the people in my own chapter think like that? How could I allow myself to get stuck in this bondage to a UBF chapter?”

Well, I took matters into my own hands one evening. After chatting with many Canadian leaders over the period of a couple months I contacted the chapter where my wife had been in USA. Through this communication I could get assistance from Chicago. My director received a call from JJ giving guidance that I go to Korea for a short term period (6 months). This was at least until the processing for immigration could be completed. However, my chapter director wanted me to go only for the delivery of the baby and support my wife in the immediate and then return. He had no choice but to accept that Chicago leaders had stepped in and given a new direction. He still tried to keep his control because a director from a chapter in Korea had just visited Canada and he wanted me to study with that director so to keep his influence over me. (That director is a neighbor to our present UBF chapter.)

When I did leave I had prepared to work as an English teacher in Korea giving me more than a one year contract to fulfill. In addition, my parents were the only ones to see me off at the airport – I threatened my director with the police if he should come near me or my parents while I was away. Since then I have had no active contact with the chapter director except for what he has emailed to me. In fact, he has well hidden that things changed radically after I left.

Our Marriage Defined and Challenged in Korea

There is one more thing that occurred after the birth of our baby. The director’s wife came to Korea without any notice and tried to visit while I was working. She almost got past my wife, but I stood my ground and a fellow co-worker had to meet and send the director’s wife away without even leaving the train station. Let me explain since it was a very difficult action I faced while I was still shaken from the chapter in Canada.

I took a leap of faith and warned my wife that if she kept contact or allowed that woman to come into our home and touch our baby I would leave her and start all over without any conscience of our marriage. While talking with my wife I had even called my mother and told my parents that I would leave my wife and baby if this event occurred. I did all of this by faith, because that family had used, manipulated and bullied us. Did I want to leave my wife and baby? No, but I handled this event as I did to demonstrate what the chapter in Canada had done. During the four months of separation my wife had been in a loving and warm chapter, but I hadn’t and I could not pretend that everything was okay and allow them to exhort power over our family anymore. Forgiveness is in my heart, but that does not mean I will allow myself or my wife and children to suffer any longer.

Closing Comments

In closing there are many co-workers in Canada, USA and Korea whose help I received and for that I am truly thankful and hope that God’s blessings can pour out to them. But there are those in the chapter that I left who still need to be called to account. There are still others who share their condolences, but will do nothing about what has been happening in that chapter or others of its kind. It has almost been two years since I came to Korea and God has taught me that his divine training can be done anywhere, anytime under his authority and by the Holy Spirit. God has also taught me great humility with every step because I had no time to prepare anything, but had to adapt beyond my sense of time and abilities. We still do not have clarity for our situation, but we are taking each day and leaving it to God. That chapter director tried to keep me in Canada without ever suggesting I go to Korea for the remainder of application processing. It is a perfect illustration of an abuse of power.

Some in UBF may ask me, “Why has this been added to the pile of negative reviews?” My answer, “I am adding this here, because if I don’t it will always be left unsaid. When I share my life testimony I must be graceful and encouraging – that means do not say anything that may discourage new comers.”



  1. Mark Mederich

    once again religion has been weighed in the scales & found wanting, oh Lord we call upon you for justice, for man can’t be trusted to do anything unbeneficial

    messages used to control, for someone’s purpose (‘stepford wives’ etc):
    bible interpretation, that is the test of religion, isn’t it? oh Holy Spirit reveal/correct all the tremendous evils committed by purposeful bible misinterpretations; you alone Lord can be trusted to translate directly into our minds & hearts when we pray; others only if trustworthy may advise but can never be certainly trusted, for God alone is accurate/true/without ulterior motive

    & we wonder why recent generations question weekly exposing themselves to questionable theology/human manipulation/false worship; let’s practice true worship in how message is used or let’s abolish evil religion..

  2. big bear

    gc….thanks for sharing your story…it is true that UBF does things for the sake of power and numbers in some of the chapters without much prayer…Genesis 22 serves as only an example but does not apply to all situations…it is there for us to learn more deeply God’s love not to use it to manipulate people to stay under UBF…this is how UBF manipulates people to serve their agenda not considering the outcome or the consequences of their decisions…they often do more harm than good to God’s people and to families and marriages…I agree that Chicago UBF seems to be on a different page than all the others..a better page from my experience…but this does not leave them innocent of the offenses done by the ministry worldwide…pray for God’s will in your life and your wife and family…

  3. gc, thanks for this poignant description of how your life changed. Through sharing your story, you have identified yourself to those who are familiar with the events. That takes courage and a desire to live before the Lord, not before men. I strongly commend you for this. I never showed such courage but rather vacillated to please people. As a result, I became an abuser myself. I take responsibility for the ways that I wronged you, for failing to stand on your side with love, and for being an agent that enabled your family to be bullied by proxy, oftentimes carrying it out myself. I should be called into account as much as anyone for the ways I pressured you, failed to hear your side, saw you merely as a ministry number, and never considered your pain. I judged you in my heart, which is a sin. I repent before God, your family, and before my brothers in the Lord for these wrongs I caused you. May the Lord continually minister in your heart and in your marriage, watering your spirits with His love and peace, restoring your souls fully in Him. And please forgive me.

    • Joshua, You are already forgiven. Personally, I know that we both judged each other and at that time represented two distinctly opposed positions in ministry. Since making my primary mistakes in a separate chapter my character and handling of situations was defined already. By the time I joined you it became a turning point in my life be it bad or good – and I say good. I don’t hold you accountable for anything anymore. Actually, I knew how bound you were in your own situation. Also, my heart broke to pieces when you were rebuked the day your parents made a family decision to support your sister. My wife and I were stunned by the situation and embarrassed to be witnesses.

      When I prayed and wrote this reflection I did so not to scorn UBF. I wanted to share this online, because it is a recent event that reveals trouble still. Also, it reveals that actions have been made. However, I personally have not been satisfied. Yes, I took matters into my own hands and broke spiritual order by secretly writing to break my bonds. But that has made no difference to your situation and what happened. I have received a few emails since my absense, but not one mentions the truth about your family. I only learned about your story from two brothers. It must be said that if several missionaries and shepherds cannot find common ground and healthy relations then accountability must be brought forward.

      I debated to share this or not and expose who ‘gc’ really was. I did so after careful consideration, because in the time that we do return I have prayed to God about overseeing and protecting our family in Canada. Moreover, I believe it is the wrong message to send to peers of serious committed members in addition to young students. The message that we should sacrifice our lives for nothing leaves one dried up. To sacrifice for Christ – that I can try to do. But to sacrifice for the prohibitions of a group of people who may or may not admit you based on human systems – I will surely give up. There is no mercy, there is no justice.

  4. Thanks, gc, for sharing the reality of your pain and your very heart.

    Thanks, joshua, for your genuine heartfelt apology.

    This, I believe, is what reconciliation looks like and feels like.

    I am touched. Thank you, brothers.

  5. big bear

    gc..I was touched to by your story and your forgiveness…I hope with the upcoming summer conference that stories like this may be told….instead of life testimonies that only expose the sins of young Bible students to build up Ubf and the leaders dont share the true story of their present sins….this will build up God church much more..the amazing grace of God will heal if only leaders stop hiding behind religious masks and ubf slogans… those who dont know big bear…my former name was Shepherd Andrew Joshua Point Michael Anthony Paul Martin…I have witnessed 29 years of Ubf work…I know firsthand the amazing grace of God and the problems in a chapter director God revealed to me my own sin problem thru my children…I was taught bad theology from Ubf and the life that the end justifies the means…I carried these teaching as a director…God took me away as a voice for change…Ubf could be very fruitful if they let go of their abusive practices, learn to respect families, all churches and work with them in caring for all people and getting out of leadership those who continually abuse bible students

  6. “We also must give words to what we are living. If we do not speak what we are living, our lives lose their vitality and creativity. When we are sorrowful or in great pain, we need to talk about it. When we are surprised by joy, we want to announce it! Through the word, we appropriate and internalize what we are living. The word makes our experience truly human.” Henri Nouwen
    Thank you gc, Vitaly, David B, bigbear, Joshua, Chris, Brian, Ben and everyone else here. Your words are very important to me. I’m deeply grateful for them and I am listening and praying for all of you.

  7. Thanks a lot for sharing, gc.

    I can see the overall problem of UBF directors who want to fully direct and control the life of “their” sheep. Not all UBF directors are the same, some do it to a lesser extent, some more subtly and manipulative, some more direct and commanding. But it’s striking how this same behavior pattern of directors is repeatedly reported from so different locations around the world. I believe this is because SL was the role model for such behavior. He was so controlling that he would even prescribe hairstyle, eye surgery, names of children, when to marry whom and when to live together, up to the point of ordering abortions. Therefore I think it’s a bit ironic that some claim things are better in Chicago. Maybe it’s true now, but historically, it was at the “root of all evil” in my eyes. The others just followed the example given by the GD SL.

    The result of such controlling and parenting people is that people become other-directed, not self-determined, they do not live on their own and their own conscience, but by the orientation of somebody else and by absolute obedience. As soon as you make a small step towards self-determination and start to make your own decisions, UBF directors notice it and often react drastically. I gave my own example already, where my marriage was cancelled after I made the decision to spend time together with my mother who was visiting me instead of attending an unimportant meeting. The point here was that I made a decision of my own base on my conscience and what I thought was good and right, instead of simply obeying my leader. Some don’t even notice how other-directed they are because they have long given up making their own decisions and only follow the direction of leaders.

    Self-determination is an important element that constitutes life and makes us fully-fledged human beings. Kierkegaard wrote “to be a human is to become, or at least to strive to become, an actualized individual who is self-conscious, self-critical, and self-determined.” In this sense, when UBF directors rob us of our self-determination, they actually rob us of our humanity. I think that’s what hurt us so much.

  8. @Chris. Nice quote by Kiekegaard that reminds me of Ireneeus’ quote: “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.”

    In my opinion, some older longstanding UBF leaders primarily think of how much they suffered and sacrificed for their sheep, often without realizing that they are imposing rules and regulations on the sheep based on UBF tradition as though they are the Bible itself.

    The result is often that people can easily become stunted as a human being in UBF after initial conversion or joy or enlightenment. Then after some years and decades of being in UBF some begin to realize that they were being “programmed, controlled and manipulated” usually by some authoritarian UBF chapter director. Then they become quite angry and upset, feeling as though they had wasted significant years of their precious lives.

    I hope that older UBF leaders may begin to realize and acknowledge this. Until then, there will be no exhilarating freedom of the gospel like that of an eagle soaring in the sky (Isa 40:31), but a continual subtle subliminal imposition of oppressive UBF traditions, impositions and expectations.

  9. Ben, you say “they are imposing rules and regulations on the sheep”. I think the problem has a much larger dimension, because they not only set up general rules or regulations. For instance, it would be one thing to say “as a rule, please attend all meetings”. But it is another thing to make this rule an absolute and to cancel a marriage or expel somebody from the church when such a rule was broken. They do not give you any leeway to interpret and follow their rules on your own. They tell you exactly what to do, and you must obey. It’s more than just rules and regulations in that they are also giving “orientation” and “directons”, making decisions for members concernign their marriage, family life, domicile, job, study etc. MbF is the standard example, but there are many more. Really, that’s so much more controlling than just “imposing rules and regulations”. It’s controlling up to a point where you become a puppet on the strings of the director.

    • big bear

      BEN AND chris…exactly…you lose all sense of conscience and even become a slave to their rules…for over 20 years I was programmed to escape from family and friends to study Bible and feed sheep…I lost all sense of time, and everyone who would not study or conform was Satan agent sadly even my own family……I lost all sense of life and I became like a big bear

    • big bear

      At first you are showered with love, and the joy of Jesus comes…but the years that follow are like living under communist rule or dictatorship….no love of God just work and more work….and dont forget your offerings…you will be rebuked openly… wife and kids left me to escape ubf hell……it took this to wake me up from the abuse and brain washing

  10. Chris, thanks for clarifying. Perhaps my last statement in my last comment might support what you wrote: “a continual subtle subliminal imposition of oppressive UBF traditions, impositions and expectations.” – See more at:

    • big bear

      When I was a young teen…the moonies promised me a job in Florida to sell flowers…I was getting on the bus when my sisters and girlfriend stopped me from taking off with them….I was vulnerable due to much pain in my life….later I got a free trip to Niagara falls…..I went for the trip but it cost me 29 years of my life… 1984 I was on news for 3 days as cult leader for ubf….could not believe it….but now the eyes of my heart have been enlightened by Christ…thank God I am free at last

  11. Last night I participated in a healthy church meeting. The go-to church in our small town (the church that exists to support and bless a lot of smaller churches in town with the motto – “a church without walls”) held a meeting to discuss the future of the youth ministry. My children have attended this group so I was invited to attend.
    This meeting was the culmination of a process of very difficult self-examination lead by an outside group of ministry architects. This church hired a group to come in and set up listening groups which consisted of parents, children and other with a vested interest in the youth ministry. A candid report was then compiled and shared with anyone who was interested. Xerox copies were handed out to everyone and it was posted on the website. The report was an honest reflection of the painful reality based on the opinions of everyone who desired to speak up.

    It was to be understood as a springboard for an 18 month strategic plan of recreating the whole program. They urged anyone who was interested to get involved in what they called the “renovation team”. Anyone.

    They told an allegorical story about a dancer who is prepared and equipped to dance her best at a dance company. She can dance beautifully. But tragically, the floor underneath her breaks during one of her performances. She is crippled and broken. But the dance company blames her for falling and moves on to find a new dancer. They ignore the broken floor. Guess what happens again and again?

    This story makes me cry. It is the story of this ubf ministry. God has given each of us what we need to serve him. We have worked hard and well. The church should provide a solid floor for us to dance on. Instead, it is broken and doesn’t support us well. When we fall through it, we are often blamed. But are we doing what needs to be done to fix the floor?

    I was so impressed with how this local church deals with the issues of ministry failure. I hope that someday UBF will become wise in the same way.

    • Thanks for this beautiful illustration, Sharon. Ironically, we do a lot of dancing in UBF too for world mission nights. Isn’t that funny?

      I’m also beginning to see the workings of a healthy church renovation. It is encouraging to see churches aiming to become healthier. It is also heart-breaking to think, why couldn’t my own church have done that 10 years ago?

  12. Sharon, Thanks for the story that sought an organic authentic transparent bottom up approach. Thanks also for the analogy of the dancer and the broken floor. As a cynic and a realist and with a touch of smiling sarcasm, I guess the only way the broken floor is ever going to get fixed is if and when it is agreed that the floor is indeed broken. The reason given might be that the floor is not the problem; the problem is that the dancers are careless, or too heavy!

    • No Ben, the problem is that the dancers are shaped like a globe and they need weight-loss training.

      (Sorry for that one)

    • I think you learned well how to tell politically incorrect jokes :-)

  13. @gc, thank you so much for sharing. Most ubf testmimonies have grown cold and heartless, stories told as “it’s all good” and detached from reality. I am really glad to hear you connect with reality many times in your story. That is humanity and that is Christianity. Christ never calls us to detach from reality, or shrink back from the facts of our lives. The vision and hope Christ gives us is real. But alas, ubf people are trained to spin their stories into fantasy, such as this ubf story. Imagine the flood of tears, pain and angst hiding behind the words shown to the public. I’m not saying people should reveal all their gory details about their past. But spinning off words of flattery gives false encouragement and encourages others to detach themselves from the real world around them.

    @Chris, I just have to give a tearfilled, =1 shout out your comment:

    “Self-determination is an important element that constitutes life and makes us fully-fledged human beings. Kierkegaard wrote “to be a human is to become, or at least to strive to become, an actualized individual who is self-conscious, self-critical, and self-determined.” In this sense, when UBF directors rob us of our self-determination, they actually rob us of our humanity. I think that’s what hurt us so much.”

    Even when we reduce a human organization to a business, your words hold true. I know firsthand that many successful American businesses reward self-determination and making decisions based on your conscience. One company gives you “below average” scores on your job performance reviews if you ask for guidance in decision-making! I have struggled at times in my workplace because I was trained all my adult-formative years to NOT think on my own, being taught “You are not your own man!”, so I wonder, how do I made decisions on my own?

  14. @Ben, telling such cynical jokes is actually a healthy response to trauma. I believe I have mastered such humor :) And I have been going through the list below over the past two years. I think I’m nearing the end of this phase…

    Source: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A State-of-the-Science Review (2006) Nemeroff CB, Bremner JD, Foa EB, Mayberg HS, North CS, Stein MB.
    Journal of Psychiatric Research, 2006 Feb;40(1):1-21.

    Possible Effects on Beliefs, Attitudes and Sense of Self

    Depending on the nature of your traumatic experience and how it was caused, you may notice any of the following changes:

    -the world feels unsafe, unfair, unpredictable and out of control
    sense of separation from the rest of humanity
    -loss of autonomy, mobility or freedom
    -sense of betrayal, unfairness or mistrust
    -self-blame and diminished self-respect
    -sense of degradation, humiliation or personal weakness
    -indifference, fatalism or cynicism
    -guilt or shame about surviving, especially if others did not
    -rage, thoughts of revenge, and aggressive impulses (guilt)
    -anger at people who have not been affected
    -sadness over losses
    -spiritual crisis or loss of faith

  15. @Brian, @Chris, @BigBear, @Joshua, @Mark, @Sharon, @gc: Regardless of what the question is, the answer is that only the Holy Spirit can effect true change in UBF and UBF leaders. So, when and whenever the Holy Spirit works supernaturally and miraculously, I think it must look something like this:

    * a humble sincere acknowledgment of wrongdoing and abuse by UBF leaders.
    * acknowledging that hierarchical authoritarian abuse in UBF has caused her members to not be themselves, and thus creating various degrees of a PTSD-like disorder.
    * a ceasing of blaming those who left UBF.
    * a genuine welcome of all those who were wounded by UBF, instead of regarding or treating them as sub-Christians.
    * a welcome of UBFriends because UBFers, past and present, are finally able to freely speak up openly and honestly (which they could never do so while in UBF), even if they do so messily.
    * no hint or attempt to place the blame on the victim.
    * no attempt to try to safe face by the perpetrators or the oligarchy.
    * UBF taking full responsibility for many grievances over many decades.
    * truly regarding restitution, recompense, repentance and reconciliation as central and crucial to the gospel.

    Is this possible? Am I dreaming?

    By faith, I believe that this day will come sooner or later. I prefer sooner, but that’s not my call.

    • Yes, Ben, I would think the work of the Spirit in the ubf context would indeed contain those things, if not all of them. We can see glimpses of such “redeemed ubf” in people from time to time, such as in gc, MarkO, MarthaO, etc. So on an individual level, I think you are not dreaming. Such transformations are occurring, and seemingly in larger numbers the past two years (or maybe it’s just that those going through such a redemptive work by the Spirit are more vocal now?)

      But on a corporate level, I believe you are dreaming :) If ubf showed corporate repentance and the Spirit’s redemptive work at the corporate level, the entire ISBC program would be scrapped in place of the things on your list. That would take a GD who is courageous enough to make tough decisions and to let go of the ubf heritage (which is the gospel way of saving ubf heritage actually). We all know that won’t be happening for decades. If it does happen in some form, it will most likely be because USA ubf splits off from Korea ubf.

  16. @Brian: “Most ubf testmimonies have grown cold and heartless, stories told as “it’s all good” and detached from reality. I am really glad to hear you connect with reality many times in your story. That is humanity and that is Christianity. Christ never calls us to detach from reality, or shrink back from the facts of our lives. The vision and hope Christ gives us is real.”

    I agree, actually my first draft followed Genesis 22 with more analysis. But, after adding and subtracting I was left with more a testimonial. I was inspired to write an article after teaching Genesis 22 to my Bible student and I almost wept in front of him.

    I know that there is always a formula to testimony writing in all ministries. I have always had a problem with the “one size fits all” testimony structure. Even if our experiences as students and members of society appear the same the backgrounds are so totally different. Moreover, I believe that God speaks to us through our family, friends, employer, teacher, community etc…in addition to those (spiritual) leaders in a church. I have always believed that – and indeed it gets me into trouble.

    As I said in Ben’s article: good/bad/ugly, The testimony is a measure to your faith and spiritual maturing. This is so superficial. So much depends on what someone wants to share and how sincerely they share it. It can be useful however to sit down and just write. Personally, is it so bad to say that one unedited 10+ page testimony is worth more than a dozen 2 page edited testimonies?

    One thing that is both sad and funny I will share. When I did arrive in Korea and my chapter held a fall conference within a couple weeks after my arrival I was asked to present a life testimony. At that time I did not want anything altered or censored or changed for the glory of UBF. I was not going to write slandor, I wanted to share a story without what is expressed in this article. My wife can testify for my temper at that time. In reality, nobody wanted to alter anything. They let me present my testimony as it was – Needless to say, I woke up and realized that even in Korea, not all UBF chapters are like what I experienced.